Lake Clark and Katmai National Parks & Preserves are icons of wild Alaska. Big brown bears, active volcanoes, and glaciers dominate this rugged, remote landscape. Each summer, 40-50 million Bristol Bay wild salmon race for spawning grounds in the same rivers and lakes where they were born. Wild salmon navigate a gauntlet of extreme challenges to reach protected waters in Lake Clark and Katmai: the commercial fishing fleet, subsistence nets, sport fishermen’s hooks, bear claws and jaws, eagles, seals, wolves, and even Class V+ waterfalls. Go, fish. Go!
Bristol Bay boasts the most sustainably managed and commercially valuable fishery in the world, accounting for 50% of the global sockeye harvest and worth $445 million annually. Katmai National Park’s remarkable brown bears and world class sport fishing draw 55,000 visitors each year, generating $50 million in benefits to surrounding communities, according to our economic study.
Generations of Alaska Natives and rural residents live boldly throughout the region, thriving off bounties of abundant moose, caribou, berries, and fish, while maintaining close ties with the natural world and the rich traditions of their ancestors. Alone in the Wilderness, a beloved documentary film, features one of Lake Clark park’s most revered residents, Dick Proenneke (1916-2003). The film and his journals inspired scores with a simple, self-reliant lifestyle, and low-impact ethic. Proenneke’s cabin is now maintained by National Park Service volunteers as a living museum and a hand-written note on the wall still wonders, “Is it proper that the wilderness and its creatures should suffer because we came?”
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is distinguished by its breathtaking beauty, rich culture, and one of the healthiest ecosystems anywhere in the U.S. In fact, it is one of just three national parks to receive an overall “excellent” natural resources rating from NPCA’s Center for Park Research. Research conducted also earned Lake Clark the highest cultural resources score of all the parks ever assessed. However, our report warns of an urgent threat to park resources: advanced explorations for industrial copper and gold deposits on adjacent lands. If developed, the proposed Pebble mining district could render Lake Clark National Park an island in a sea of development.